For all of human history, people have looked at the stars with a sense of wonder. More recently, some U.S. military planners have looked skyward and seen something very different — the next battlefield.


While the military’s presence in space stretches back decades, now there appears to be a new emphasis. Officials in the Bush administration and the Department of Defense are actively pursuing an agenda calling for the unprecedented weaponization of space.



The first real step in that direction appears to be coming in the form of a little-noticed weapons program at the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. The agency has now earmarked $68 million in 2005 for something called the Near Field Infrared Experiment.



The NFIRE satellite is primarily designed to gather data on exhaust plumes from rockets launched from earth, and defense officials claim it is therefore designed as a defensive, rather than offensive weapons.



But the satellite will also contain…



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